The following is a guest post by Frances Carden, technical writer in the Copyright Modernization Office.
The buzz around here has been big–you may remember my April post about the establishment of the Copyright Modernization Office (CMO) that directs all modernization initiatives across the U.S. Copyright Office–and it’s getting bigger and bolder.
On May 7, the CMO issued a request for information (RFI). An RFI is an invitation to collaborate, to propose a solution to a problem and the journey this solution should follow all the way from the current state to the desired future state. RFIs are a structured way of brainstorming and discovering the existing pool of creative thought and talent. They’re also big news for the Copyright Office– an unprecedented forward leap. The status quo isn’t an option anymore– especially not for an industry built on empowering and protecting creativity itself–and the solution, and the road to that solution, must not only recognize that but address it.
This RFI further defines the creative approach of the Copyright Office by stipulating that proposed solutions shouldn’t be boxed in by a particular system, technology, or methodology. Solutions should be fluid, flexible, and scalable. Any map leading to a destination needs to allow for future journeys as business needs evolve. In other words, the road shouldn’t end when you arrive. After all, modernization isn’t a onetime task, but a way of life that continually renews itself and always keeps the question “what’s next?” at the forefront. It’s a plan to always stay one step ahead of the game.
RFI respondents, in addition to provable solutions, need to describe creative consideration strategies such as zero-cost contracts and cost-sharing initiatives. Instead of the government soliciting and then paying a vendor, the vendor will volunteer and craft a solution for the government at no, or exceptionally low, cost. The vendor wants to do this, for their part, because it allows them a large, highly visible platform upon which to build a cutting-edge, fully functioning, high-profile, symbiotic solution.
RFIs in and of themselves are just the first step. After examining what’s out there, the next step would be a request for proposal (RFP). An RFP requires even more detailed information from the respondent and usually ends in a contractual agreement–someone’s proposal is effectively selected and begun.
If you’re curious to see an RFI in its full glory, want the low-down on the Copyright Office’s planned future state, or are a vendor interested in sending a response, you can check out the full details here. The RFI is open for response until July 16.